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CBS 5 Eyewitness News at 6PM

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Us 38, San Bruno 30, Sfo 7, Ken 6, Fbi 6, San Francisco 5, Dana 4, Cbs 4, Oakland 4, Lula 4, Don 3, Ken Bastida 3, Uhm 3, Suffolk 3, Hercules 2, The Fbi 2, Sharon Rummery 2, Frederick 2, Anne Makovec 2, Cathy 2,
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  CBS    CBS 5 Eyewitness News at 6PM    News  News/Business.  
   King and Martin. New. (CC)  

    September 9, 2010
    6:00 - 7:00pm PDT  

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in the exact same house. my colleague robert lyles is reporting the body was found wrapped in plastic in a downstairs closet covered with clutter. now, the police in hercules say they have not yet formally identified the body inside the hercules home nor have they determined his or her cause of death. according to an fbi spokesman the fbi was called in to work on the case. they were in the process of getting' new search warrant. after that search warrant gets issued, the fbi and hercules police are walking through the house. the fbi has an evidence response team like a csi. they are doing this preliminary walk-through this afternoon when a hercules detective notice the something unusual. they say what is that? they poured a chemical called luminol on the floor and identified blood spots, following it into the downstairs closet and found the body. the huge question right now, how did they miss the body in the first place? don knapp is now live on the scene in hercules. don, are the police explaining just what happened yet? they didn't find it before now? >> reporter: in a word, joe, no
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comment on that so far. but as you know, since about 3:00 today when that police department issued that press release, this place has been a bee hive of activity. there are helicopters, news crews and police officers on the scene. we got a few moments with a police spokeswoman who answered the obvious question, that is, is this body frederick sales? here's doreen matthews. >> the search at the landfill was suspended at approximately 4:30 today. >> why is that? >> that's the typical 4:30, 5:00 typically 5:00 they were quitting. whether it's related to the discovery of the body here, i don't have that information. i have not talked to the investigators out at the landfill to make that determination. >> reporter: any indication that frederick sales is still missing? >> as far as we're concerned, he is still a missing person. until we make a positive identification of the body that was found in the residence, mr. sales is still a missing person. >> reporter: still a missing
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person. so they are not confirming that this person is what must be obvious to everybody else right now. but it probably is frederick sales. of course week, don't know. the question you asked, joe, how did this happen? how do we have police officers in a house where there was a body recovered and then have another body in that house that was not seen? we don't know all those circumstances yet. but we do know this. robert lyles has also been reporting to us that there was a search warrant at the time as the body was taken from the house and the house was sealed up with tape as a crime scene. now, as robert explained, that makes the house not being allowed to be entered in the meantime because they are trying to preserve the evidence of the crime scene. today, the fbi brought by their emergency -- their -- some special evidence recovery team and they were doing a walk- through, apparently that was the reason to open the house and to go inside the house. it is a huge question in everybody's mind: was this body there ever since the first body was recovered? did the body come after that? if it was there when the other
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body was recovered, that of mr. ricardo sales, why didn't anyone see it before now? so i'm sure that question is going to be addressed at sometime later. police aren't speaking specifically toish that u this evening. >> don, they mentioned a landfill. they have been looking for six days in the landfill for frederick sales. i don't know if they had a tip about it. but they have been looking for him. it's just the fact that he's in the house in a closet that's just remarkable. >> reporter: it is. how did you miss it? if he were buried under cement, or someplace else, but he is in a closet. how did they miss that? obviously there is an explanation. question, it still could be that wasn't in the house at the time. we have to find all that out. police aren't commenting. it's still a mystery. >> don, i'm sure you'll be asking questions. thank you very much. this brings to six the number of dead bodies apparently related to the killing spree sparked by efren valdemoro who was eventually shot and killed by chp officers. now, if this is frederick sales and the police haven't confirmed that that is the case, that would be five total
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murders. i was talking to the fbi spokesman earlier and we were talking about search warrants. my question was, do they need a search warrant? i mean, they are a missing person, murder case that's still active. apparently they do. the way it works in the initial days of the investigation, the police get a search warrant even though keep in mind, the person who owns the home is murdered as are now at least one and possibly two of the residents. they still need a search warrant. that is the law and but then once they are done searching the home and police believe they are finished, that's the end of that search warrant. if they want to go in like in this case with the fbi they have to get another search warrant. that's what happened today. they obtained a new search warrant. fbi agents and the police were doing a preliminary walk- through to see what do we have here and they are walking through with the equivalent of csi for the fbi, they are the guys who look for new evidence, they package it up, send it back to the lab. that's what they were doing, dana, when they stumbled across this little bit of evidence that led to a blood trail that
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led to a fresh body in a closet. >> the fact that they had to obtain another search warrant also leads me to question whether maybe a neighbor or there might have been some other impetus for them to go back into this house. certainly if there was a dead body that's been that this past week, there has to be a stench that's unbelievable that's reached the neighbors, as well. >> reporter: that's a good point. i mean, it could have been that this was something that they had scheduled. yes, no one has been living there so it could be that, you know, this is a case of somebody in the house the smell of a dead body is overwhelming. that's one thing. and in fact, that was the case, remember, with two of the other victims. but now you have this fresh bit of evidence, we don't know whether that's why the fbi was going back in there. >> do we know if there will be a news conference scheduled anytime later this evening? >> reporter: i don't know. it's clearly hercules police have some answers -- have some questions to answer. they are not going to answer them yet. >> their hands are full. thank you, don knapp and joe
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vazquez. we'll keep an eye on this story. also happening this evening, gay rights activists have blocked a major intersection in san francisco. we have already seen about 15 arrests. we want to show you some video of castro and market street. a group called "get equal" has been organizing this protest. they want house speaker nancy pelosi to schedule a vote on federal legislation that would ban workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. that bill has been stalled in congress. now even though we have this video, the demonstration is over and traffic is moving through the intersection again. but there were some arrests. also late today we learned that a former golden gate bridge district employee is under arrest for allegedly embezzling nearly $100,000. authorities say that james brewer allegedly used the district credit cards to make
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unauthorized purchases for his personal use. these transactions were made over a four-year period. brewer was fired last week. >> i was seeking prosecution seeking full resolution? this individual so that the district won't be out any money. >> the bridge district says it will change its buying procedures so that it can't happen again. authorities were able to recover some of the items such as home appliances and home electronics. san francisco muni has sent a memo to its drivers saying that any sickout next week is banned by their work rulings. the metropolitan transportation agency has notified drivers that strikes, slowdowns and other work stoppages are against the union contract. and in addition, muni says it will now require a medical excuse for any sick calls of any length. anonymous flyers released yesterday called for a four-day sickout to start next tuesday. as for the new bay bridge, remember back when we were told the new span would cost $1.7 billion? well, that's changed. it's now expected to cost $2 billion.
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bridge commissioners have added $300 million to that original budget. right now, crews are working on the bridge between oakland and yerba buena island. the extra money will cover more construction work and problems that may come up during the remainder of the project. stoors in less than two weeks a -- in less than two weeks a major caltrans project will be finished at a bad spot for traffic . anne makovec says drivers have to be willing to pay up. reporter: the new i-680 express lane will run along a 14-mile stretch of southbound 680 from highway 84 to 237 in alameda and santa clara counties. the existing carpool lane is now being converted. it will be separated from the rest of the interstate with a double yellow line plus a single white line. there will be three entry an exit points along the way. electronic signs will display
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the price, which depends on the traffic. it could be anywhere from 30 cents during non-commute hours to over $10 when it's congested. the average will be $4 to $6. and there are no tollbooths involved. you have to have a fastrak transponder which will be read by an overhead antenna. if you are a single driver using the express lane without fastrak, you're subject to a ticket from the chp. >> we are currently drafting a management plan in regards to these lanes so that our officers have a full understanding as to what their purpose is out there and as to how we are going to conduct our enforcement. >> reporter: a lot of the money collected will be used to make an express lane on the northbound side of 680. all the information is on our website, cbs5.com, click on "newslinks." in fremont, anne makovec, cbs 5 i'm thuy vu in vietnam. the red cross estimates up to three million people here suffer from health problems related to agent orange. some of them were with the
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south vietnamese army fighting along side u.s. forces during the war. coming up, their story of abandonment and their plea to the u.s. what draws hundreds of people to a bakery on opening day? well, let me tell you, it's not just the taste of the cakes. and back home tonight lula how she finally made it back home to her owners. ,,,,,,,,,,
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you inhale, they inhale. millions of children continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke. secondhand smoke causes asthma, a disease that cannot be cured. protect your loved ones.
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you can't really love me. i know about gayle. i don't know what you're talking about. if you just tell me what happened... [ ding ] [ man ] 35th and archer. next stop hamilton. [ brakes hiss ] ♪ [ male announcer ] now you can watch hit tv shows on your iphone when you get at&t u-verse tv. at&t. rethink possible. bakery is in business. sherry hu is o this it's going to be sweet dreams of tomorrow. a long time favorite east bay bakery is in business. sherry hu is no stranger to
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that sweet spot. >> oh, no. [ signal breakup ] reporter: they came and bought and bought and bought. by lunchtime, the newly owned taste of denmark says it was close to sold out and starting a second round of baking. >> i had very high hopes that this would be the day that everything would be well. it's great to see everybody here. >> reporter: a lot of customers came, not just to satisfy a sweet tooth fix, but because this is where they have come for years. the site of the former neldam's is bustling with different owners, different name and recipes. no matter tradition is tradition. today she bought her two great- grandchildren just like her mother brought her when she was a child, she brought her two great-grandchildren. >> every sunday, every birthday, every holiday, this is the place we would come to make special orders for cakes and cookies. >> reporter: i'm told 40% of taste of denmark is now owned by the building's owners, 20% will be sold to investors, and the other 40% belongs to former neldam's workers like kathy, who
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started here almost 30 years ago and she started her own tradition here. her daughter trina has been helping behind the counter for 13 years. >> when you're ready, i can help you. >> reporter: and now her teenaged granddaughter stephanie is on board. for those who have been coming for years, there are still some of the old temptations, the strawberry cakes, chocolate dreams, and cheesecakes. but keep in mind, this, the owners emphasize, is no longer neldam's. >> it's a new bakery, a new tradition, and a new birth. >> reporter: it may all be new, but for customers who passed on the tradition from generation to generation, this spot is more than what meets the mouth. >> it's not just a bakery, no. no. this is a heart of oakland. definitely the heart. >> reporter: now, this is the cake that takes me back to my
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childhood. all of my birthday parties at fairy land had to be this one. the chocolate cake with the whipped cream on it and the big chocolate shavings. it's so yummy. i have a plate and knife. remember i promised you at 5:00, the offer is still good. come on over, forget about dinner, we are going right to dessert. >> i have a message from the newsroom. hand over the chocolate and nobody gets hurt! [ laughter ] >> reporter: done! >> you need a big birthday candle on that thing. >> reporter: don't needs a candle. just dig in! >> the smile says it all. sherry hu, thank you. we have some new information on a story we brought you a few weeks ago. a castro valley couple told us that their dog lulu was stolen from their home along with jewelry and electronics last month. mike sugerman picks up the story from there. reporter: this is a happy tale about a happy tail. >> hi! oh!! hi! >> reporter: the tale being told
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by this man, robert cassidy who shot this video yesterday. the wagging tail belongs to this dog, lula, who was reunited with her family after more than a month. >> freedom. i haven't really, you know, as you saw in the room, we haven't really lived if you will for 32 days i feel. >> reporter: his castro valley home still hasn't been cleaned up since the burglary. he has been putting all his energy on finding lula. our story last month dealt mostly with the crime spree robert uncovered after talking with neighbors while looking for lula. new information on a story we brought you a fe weeks ago. a dog was stolen with jewelry and electronics from a home last he discovered 14 other homes and cars had been burgled. >> so we have that house. as we come down here, the house --the green house here. >> reporter: he lost $12,000 worth of stuff but it was lula he really wanted back. eventually, he, his wife and friends put up 4800 posters all over the bay area and checked 42 animal shelters from santa rosa to salinas. then a woman who bought a dog at a flea market saw one of the posters one of the last put up
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on international boulevard in oakland. >> she gave me a description of the dog and i said was there any behavioral thing? she said, well she definitely likes licking ears and that's when i knew it was her. you know, my heart dropped when i heard that. [ dog barks ] >> reporter: the woman didn't want to be interviewed but she will get $1,100 reward money collected. she paid $300 for lula. the suspects in the burglary haven't been found. not clear if they were the same ones selling the dogs. with all the publicity cassidy received, he got hundreds of phone calls most of them pranks. >> my favorite crank call was the guy calls and said, hey, i saw you lost your dog on craigslist. i have your dog. and i'll give your dog back. you're going to have to take a shower with me. i kid you not. [ laughter ] >> reporter: but after that real call, all seemed worthwhile. don't need that anymore. there are 4800 others around the bay area. and cassidy's in the process of taking them all down. in castro valley, mike sugerman, cbs 5.
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all right. let's get to breaking news as chopper 5 is showing us the picture here of san bruno, massive flames and smoke coming out of the san bruno area. in fact, this is coming in so fast, our camera is -- we just have the picture from this camera. no information to us yet. so if you know what this is, if you look close by, shoot us an email cbs5.com or tweet us. we get those, too. we get those, too. this is a massive fire. reportedly it's a gas station, service station, that's caught or fire in san bruno. so we'll get more information i'm sure momentarily and get back to you. but first, as we watched this flame and explosion out of san bruno, roberta we can see the smoke heading pretty much straight up. there's not much wind out there right now, it doesn't appear. >> actually we are picking up a wind. it's a stiff wind allen out of the west gusting up to 21 miles per hour. hopefully because of the
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configuration of the hills there on the peninsula we won't have those kinds of gusty winds. at sunset, winds increase. you just mentioned tweet and twitter and i just tweeted to all my people out there. anybody around the san bruno area, if you have any information without getting obviously close to this situation, could you please send us a message via twitter or even facebook. >> yeah, roberta, our assignment desk of course is working trying to get the information from the authorities. but this is indeed a gas station that has caught fire and exploded. there's going to be a lot of people affected. that's fog that's moving in, in that area, right? >> certainly is, which has a lot of high relative humidity associated with it. that's a very deep marine layer, in fact, with the low clouds and fog. and it's going to get deeper as the evening progresses, as well. so that could certainly be some good news if there is any in this explosion that is developing right now in san bruno. >> now, roberta, we are being told that it's on skyline
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boulevard. skyline boulevard in san bruno, a gas station, a service station of some type, explosion. and you can see what the flames are like from the fuel that has caught fire and the smoke that is a result of that. so as we get more information, of course, we'll bring it to you. we'll look for information from our viewers to email us at cbs5.com. until then, roberta, give us the forecast that you have. >> again, we are picking up the low clouds and fog that you could obviously see there. the cbs 5 chopper 5 high in the sky. it is a very thick dense layer of low clouds and fog that will actually be problematic for tomorrow's morning commute with that dense fog. drizzle for tomorrow morning's commute. this is the scene out over the bay waters near the city of san francisco. today's high temperature topped off at 67 degrees and that's down from the average high of 71 degrees. no clouds there as of yet. but along the coast we are socked in with the cloud
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cover. official sundown is at 7:26. at sunset we pick up the sundowner winds, as well. and we also have the robust onshore sea breeze out of the west gusting up to 20 and 25 miles per hour. so it's a bit brisk along the bay. inland areas we will see the clear skies by tomorrow morning's sun-up according to our pinpoint forecast. official sun-up is at 6:45. you see away from the bay of water we have the clarity and then we're picking up that deck of low clouds and fog roughly about 2,000 feet deep, maybe even deeper. it will cause dense fog and you will want to check your local airport for the possibility of morning airport delays on arriving flights. meanwhile by lunch hour, we do see some ample sunshine. but meanwhile it is a getaway friday so perhaps around the state if you have any traveling plans, mid-80s throughout the central valley. tonight overnight lows bottoming out in the 40s to the 50s. tomorrow highs 60s to 80s. we'll pinpoint your weekend
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forecast coming up. roberta, thank you. we have just been told, we have sharon on the phone who lives in the area of skyline boulevard where this gas station has exploded. sharon, what can you tell us? is that information accurate up to this point? all i know is we were sitting in our homes. we felt the houses shake, heard a loud sound, ran out into the street to see what was happening and you could see huge flames coming up pretty much due west of where we are. i'm on a hill over shelter creek area in san bruno. right now, i'm looking at a whole lot of smoke going up in the air. listening to sirens and i'm seeing more flames coming with the smoke. it' very frightening, a loud roaring sound. >> what time did this happen? >> maybe five minutes ago. now the smoke is getting darker as a lot of light smoke came from -- kind of white smoke,
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now it's getting darker. you know, it's frightening. >> what is in that area? do you have any idea? >> there is no way i could tell you but it's, uhm, from here, it looks straight west from the shelter creek san bruno area. >> and did you say, sharon, that could you actually feel the explosion? >> yes. yes. it made our house shake. we thought it might be an earthquake or something. >> all right. >> you can still hear a roaring sound. i hear more sirens. >> all right. sharon, thank you so much for calling us. >> you're welcome. >> she lives due west of this fire that you can see from her home. she said she felt an explosion, heard an explosion about 5 minutes ago. she hears sirens heading toward the area. again, we have been told this is near skyline boulevard. it's in the san bruno area. we have been told it's a gas
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station that has obviously exploded in some fashion and the flames are being fed by something because they haven't changed in terms of their quantity. >> this is a live picture from our chopper. we have had to loud chopper to land to refuel. so but this is a good use of the camera while it's there close by. san bruno, if you don't know, san bruno sits on the peninsula just above sfo. so back to some tape of what happened earlier here, but these flames of course were quite a ways away with this camera here. these cameras can be seen from miles away. >> so this is something we had our chopper up for something else entirely and he captured this video which is what you're seeing right now but is now on the ground and can see these flames from miles away and we just heard in sharon rummery who lives in the area near suffolk creek in the san bruno area and what she told us is that she heard and felt a huge explosion, thought it was an earthquake actually that it was
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so huge and called us. >> you have to believe if this is a gas station, which is what we're initially told it is, some type of gas station service station, those underground tanks have caught fire and -- well -- okay. we are getting new information in now. >> yes, we are. we are getting unconfirmed information that this is possibly a plane crash. clearly, whatever it is, the quantity of these flames has not changed at all. we need to really, uhm, lock down this information before we continue on any further. but what we can tell you is that there was an explosion in this area of san bruno near suffolk creek. >> our producer telling us now that we -- we're get it would go different reports. they are conflicting reports. one of the gas station, one of the plane. >> so we are working right now in our newsroom to try and get exact information as to what
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this is. but this is clearly a fluid situation. >> we're working to get -- someone else on the phone here. joannie, are you joining us now can you hear me? another eyewitness to what's going on in san bruno. this happened around 6:15 when we got the first reports of the explosion. joannie? >> yes, i can see the flames from my back deck. if you can hear it -- you can hear it. it sounds terrible sirens. it seems like the explosion was more towards houses. the gas station is up a little harder but it's hard to tell. >> you were home? >> yes, i thought there was a plane crashing. that's what it sounded like. first i thought it was an earthquake but it kept going on. still i can see the flames bursting right from my back deck. i don't know what's going on. >> how far from your house -- >> we're only about probably a half mile.
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>> okay. >> and in the area that you see these flames, you say, it's a residential area? >> it seems like it's houses to me. i know there is a gas station but it's about a couple blocks up. so whatever it is, it's like right off san bruno avenue and crestmore. >> we're watching the flames from our chopper position on the ground. and the flames have not changed. it seems to be in one area and doesn't seem to be moving in any other direction. >> you're a lot closer, joanie . can you tell, are they getting water or foam or anything on those flames? >> i can see the fire engines going up the avenue and i hear tons of sirens but i can't tell if there is any water going on it. >> okay. >> i'm sure there is. but it's chaotic here right now. >> i can imagine. all right, joannie, thank you so much for contacting us. we appreciate it. well, two eyewitness reports, joannie and sharon rummery, earlier, both describing it as first they
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thought it felt like an earthquake. they felt that explosion. and then they could hear those flames, they can hear the roar of those flames and looked out their back deck. if you are just joining us, this is an explosion that happened no more than 15 minutes ago in the san bruno area just above sfo on the peninsula. >> we are getting conflicting reports. we have been unable to get confirmation as to what exactly this is. we have been told it's a gas station possibly. also we have been told that it is likely to be a plane crash. again, this is unconfirmed information and we are doing our best in our newsroom to try and find out exactly what's happened. >> we can see on that shot there in the background the fog is moving in. roberta said there was some wind kicking up. roberta, what's going on there? >> here in the weather center i dialed up a couple of our different automated weather station within the san bruno
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area. one particularly near skyline drive. currently reporting an air temperature of 55 degrees. humidity is up there at 78%. the winds are a little bit on the breezy side out of the west- southwest, fluctuating 11 to about 20 miles per hour. and that's because we're beginning to see the development of a very deep marine layer, low clouds, fog, it's already pushing onshore around the pacifica area, moving over the santa cruz mountains towards the peninsula. right now, we haven't had any reports out of sfo -- i took a look at the faa site of any kind of problems as far as visibility is concerned at sfo. but that's just one particular report out of sfo. we are looking at that plume, that big massive flame right there. accordingly and reportedly near the skyline boulevard in the san bruno area. if you look at that plume as it lifts up in the air, it is being wind driven at this particular time. the winds will continue to gust
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up to a good 20 to 25 miles per hour around the peninsula as the sun does set here in the san francisco bay area. official sundown tonight is right around, oh, let's say 7:26 this evening. so we're getting a good view at that plume as it continues to lift up around the peninsula. dana and allen? >> all right, roberta. thank you. right now, chopper 5 has taken off and is heading back over to the area. the smoke has moved up higher into the sky. ken bastida is on our assignment camera downstairs. ken, you know that area really well. >> dana, yeah. i mean, this is the peninsula. this is san bruno avenue. basically, it runs from 101 on the peninsula due west up to highway 35, which is skyline boulevard. now, it's sort of a mixed residential area. there used to be a driving range in that area. there are homes an shopping centers, stores. there is even not too far away
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from there, uhm, the college campus there, skyline college which is the community college in the area. this is a fluid situation. we need to remind viewers of that. we don't have any facts in terms of what's going on. we have reports, though, unconfirmed, we should mention, that a plane has gone down. this would be consistent with the flight path of a number of airports. it could be sfo, it could be the airport in san carlos. there is an airport there, general aviation airport. a lot of times they will pull to the west if that's the way the wind comes in and that's what they need for a take-off. again we don't have that confirmed right now. we're working on that. as you guys mentioned, we have our chopper on the way. you can see if the chopper pulls back and tilts up, you will see that is the take-off -- there is that jet taking
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offer right there to the right. their flight path out of sfo, there is a jet in that area right now. we don't have again any confirmation that that's in fact what happened. you can see a big plume of smoke and fire on the ground. one report is a plane crash, another a gas station. we don't know. we are trying to confirm it. >> thank you, ken. >> people on twitter are saying that a gas station by their house has exploded. but we have multiple reports on twitter as well from all about the agencies all over the peninsula rushing to the scene there. belmont, san bruno, as well as the others in the surrounding area. has to flames rise and fall but
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they are consistent. this hasn't by any means -- it's not spread. it hasn't taken off. >> it hasn't gotten -- it hasn't spread or gotten smaller, either, which might lead one to believe that there is a fuel source there like you would find at a gas station. >> we have another person who lives in the area, sir, can you hear us? >> yes. >> what's your name? >> my name's anthony. >> anthony, can you tell us what you have experienced here? >> yeah, we're sitting here watching a football game and we heard a plane come out of nowhere very loud. at first we thought it was an earthquake, house shaking, windows rattling, dog barking. we thought earthquake. so the plane must have flew over us and was really low and hopefully that's not a plane but it sounded like a plane to us. >> so you didn't see the plane? >> no, because it must have flew over us and we caught the end of it. >> and you say you caught the end of it. was it a jet airliner --
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>> yeah, sounded like a big plane. planes don't usually fly over us but this plane was really, really loud and shook the whole house. >> well, you know, could be we have a combination of both situation if a plane and gas station are both involved. can you see from where you are, can you see the flames? >> we actually are -- our house faces towards the airport the other side so can't see. i'm sure if we walked outside we could see it. i haven't gone out yet. >> your home isn't normally in a flight path? >> we usually get planes overhead. that was really loud and the planes never shake the house. >> all right. anthony, thank you very much for calling cbs 5. we appreciate it. we are trying desperately out of our newsroom to figure out through various sources what exactly this is. we are getting conflicting reports that a plane went down
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in the area. initially first report was that a gas station caught fire somehow and exploded and what you're seeing now from our chopper 5 these are live pictures up in the san bruno area, these flames the consistency and size of the flames has stayed the same since we saw the first view of this which is about 20 minutes ago. one of our first callers said it happened anywhere between 6:15 and 6:20. >> now on the phone, lawrence karnow, our meteorologist weekend meteorologist and here during the weekdays, too. lawrence, where are you right now? >> yeah, guys. i'm actually at the center across due east from where i'm seeing the fire. it is a spectacular fire. flames are just bursting forth maybe 50, 75, 100 feet high. it's been going on now for probably the last 10 minutes or so. and it seems to have a fuel source. it is burning up but the winds are pushing toward the east so it is going to be pushing back
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in this direction here not back toward the hill. but it is simply spectacular. >> lawrence, have you talked to anybody who might have seen or heard anything from that vantage point? >> i have talked to a couple of people and nobody saw anything happening here. but people have already started to talk about it. they have been on the internet and they have talked about the possibility of a plane coming down. now, that's not been confirmed. i haven't heard anything. i didn't see it come down. but all i can say is there is just a spectacular fireball that continues and numerous fire equipment vehicles continuing to race by and head towards the flames. >> you know, whatever it is, it's quite tragic. these flames are over 100 feet into the sky but, you know, i -- i just hasten to say that if it's a plane, i have to believe someone would be able to tell us that. >> yeah. you would think so. the proximity of where it's at, dana, it is usually -- it looks
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like the typical flight path in which the planes take off from the san francisco airport. they head in that direction over the mountain range. >> lawrence? >> out over the ocean waters. >> lawrence, hang on for a second. we have mark sinclair on the phone. mark, can you hear us? >> yeah, i can hear you. >> can you tell us what you have seen? >> well, i'm about a half mile from a tree line in san bruno in the shelter creek area. and basically i was out on my balcony and all of a sudden you see a normal planes flying by, right when it gets past the tree line, an explosion hits and you see these flames coming up above the tree line as the plane is going down. >> what kind of plane. >> i would say a private jet maybe? it wasn't like the jumbo jet. it was more like a private jet or something of that nature. >> do planes normally fly above the tree line near your home? >> oh, yeah. you hear planes all the time. most of the time, you know, you look up, you see a plane, no big deal. so living near the airport, we
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have the fear that they might come down because the flight plans aren't as strict. >> did you hear any unusual sounds? >> no, that's the weird thing. you look up and see planes all the time, helicopters, whatever. and then all of a sudden, as the plane -- i mean, you look up you see the plane you don't pay much attention to it but once it got past the tree line i saw that explosion and then there was like the flames jumped up after that. and then you feel the shockwaves, you know, where just hits everybody all of a sudden everybody comes out on the balcony looking up in the sky thinking that, you know, the sky is falling. >> mark, we're -- chopper 5 is getting closer so we are getting a better perspective of this. and this does look to be a constant fuel source. there are a lot of homes in that area. >> oh, yeah. >> and i'm just wondering if you can see from your vantage point whether it might have actually hit some homes, this might be a huge gas line that it ignited. can you tell?
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>> from where i am, no. but the plane crash where i think it is, there's probably a good, you know, living area around it. i would be fearful of casualties because just from the area where the tree line is and where the flames are coming up, you know, it's not like a unpopulated area. >> right. >> a lot of homes. >> our chopper -- our chopper is still in the area. when it pulled in close, you could see the firefighters spraying from their vantage point. i'm wondering, can the chopper -- >> we're getting a much better view as the chopper moves around. >> this has ignited homes in that area. we have a clear view now that there are what appears to be homes, maybe businesses, on fire in this area. >> the story of it being a gas station, the only gas station nearby is by 280. so, you know, like an
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abandoned gas station. >> this is involving -- mark sinclair, thank you so much for joining us. this is involving multiple multiple homes. now that we get up wind of where the flames and smoke are coming from we can get a very good view. ken bastida joining us again in the newsroom. ken, we can clearly, clearly see this is a whole neighborhood on fire. >> yeah, allen. i can see the chopper shot that you're looking at, as well. these are homes that above the area. if you not area off of interstate 280, the golden gate national cemetery, the west of that, up along skyline at the top of san bruno avenue, something happened there. something hit, it was an explosion. this be consistent with aviation fueling burning off and, of course, now we have the incendiary fires that have started in multiple dwellings. i can count half a dozen homes
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that are involved right now just from what we're looking at. looks like a block is involved. and it's going to burn like that until that material is consumed. now we have literally a half block of homes burning. no aircraft remnants in the area but that's consistent with the devastation. you can see house after house leveled now. homes completely flattened. flames coming up, smoke coming up. and, you know, i -- would you have to guess at this point but reports of a plane crash seem to be proving pretty accurate. >> i did see firefighters from a vantage point from a chopper but on the ground -- > >> they are probably evacuating people. they want to get as many people out of that area right now.
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jet fuel you can't just spray water on it. it won't go out. now you have homes involved with roofs tar, furniture. this is not unlike what we saw in the oakland hill fire in the early '90s where so much was consumed sea fast that it becomes a firestorm in and of itself. you can't put it out. so you -- there is a vehicle burning in the street right now. just from the fire nearby. >> do we have any idea of the exact location of these streets? has anyone been able to identify the scene here for us downstairs, ken? >> the closest we have pinpointed this is the area of san bruno avenue, which runs up to highway 35. and there you can see the roadway there 35. that is skyline boulevard. if you were to go left up the street, you would be running up the top of san bruno and that winds around those homes. those homes have been there
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since '60s and '70s, a pretty residential area, there are businesses and schools in the area. there are a number of sort of light industrial buildings in the area. but mainly it's residential. >> hang on, ken. we have a woman on the phone who has some aviation experience. ma'am, can you hear us? >> yes. >> and what's your name? >> kathy kraus. >> cathy. what can you tell us? >> i knew immediately that it was a plane crash that my house started to rumble and stuff. and i was going to pick up the phone and call 911. i knew what was going to happen. >> how close you to live -- from? >> experience. >> where do you live in relation to this? >> i live on sequoia and just on the other side of sneak lane. now, sequoia is a block and a half
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long. 12 houses from the plane. i heard the plane. i knew it was in trouble. that's why i went to get the phone. i knew something was going to happen. >> you felt, heard the explosion? >> i felt it, i heard it. >> what can you telling about the activity in terms of are people being evacuated from the neighborhood? >> i can't believe how many people -- sneak lane is a thoroughfare. people are trying to drive down there. >> people are trying to drive there. >> there seems to be a perimeter set up. [ signal breakup ] >> we're having some problems with cathy. if you are on cell phone, that's probably what's hang. i believe ken has some other high witness reports. as we continue to watch home after home here. >> it's amazing. >> just amazing pictures coming in from chopper 5. and i counted at least 15 dwellings
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of buildings that are fully involved right now. there's probably more that have been destroyed. you can see some of the buildings are burnt down to the foundations at this point. this is a hot fire not inconsistent with what we would see with aviation fuel. you are getting reports now coming in from people saying they heard the plane, they heard a thump and explosion and then the fireball that engulfed this entire neighborhood. we have some reports coming in from people online, christina writes to us from san bruno, i can see the fire on top of my roof. it started as a long loud sound and went into an explosion. so she seems to be indicating she heard the engines of a plane before she heard that boom. also, we're getting another email from another viewer who says that he saw the tail of a plane go down while he was on his balcony. he saw the tail. and then felt the shock wave. he was hit by the shock wave,
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saw flames rise in the air, it was not a gas station, he says. this was not a gas station. and you can see we don't see the remnants of a gas station anywhere in the neighborhood. this looks like -- it looks like what we would fear the worst thing possible on that take-off area of sfo. this looks like a plane has gone down in a residential neighborhood. >> you know, it's clear that whatever this is, there is a center of this fire we haven't seen any debris. >> this is a fuel source in the center of this fire. >> exactly. and the surrounding houses are aflame. but that constant source of feeding that fire is consistent, it hasn't really changed. it hasn't diminished. and it doesn't look like the fire efforts are anywhere close to it at this point. maybe because it isn't changing. >> well, dana, if i could just guess, it may be simply too hot to get that close.
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you're talking about several thousand degrees. when aviation fuel is burning off like that they train for these kinds of accidents and there are -- there is specialized equipment that has to come in. you can't fight an aviation fuel fire with water. it has to be foamed down. it looks like you know -- they are going house to house now. trying to get people out. checking homes and going door to door kick doors if that's what it takes to get people out of those buildings. this is a smoking hot fire. you're talking about thousands of degrees right now. >> i wonder if there is been a dispatch from the airport from their fire department as you mentioned, there's not only sfo in the area, but there is a smaller airport in the area. and they have that firefighting equipment. >> you know, i got another email here and this is from another person who has contacted us via email, this comes from lynn who lives in south san francisco. she says she was in the backyard heard a plane engine in san bruno area, which is a
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neighboring right there, and normally the sound of planes dissipates as it gets first away. the engine sound went on and on, never sounded as if it was going away. once i saw smoke no longer heard the plane. by the way, many of the house in the area have insulated windows due to the airport which is why anyone inside probably would not have heard anything coming. >> interesting, temperature this is a plane taking off -- if this is a plane taking off fully loaded plane full of fuel. and that's -- >> you know, the center of that fire, you know, i cover a natural gas line rupture and explosion when i worked in oklahoma? and the center of this fire here, the way it's roaring, this to me looks like it's that type of a source. and i'm totally speculating here but drawing on my experience of what i have covered before but look at the way the force of those flames. >> you're right. it almost looks like it's under pressure. >> like maybe a gas line was
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ruptured. >> marguerite, tell us where you live in relationship to this and give us your views. >> caller: we live in south san francisco area. and we're right down by the two san bruno mountains and we actually heard an aircraft turbine explode. and then you could hear the acceleration of a plane. and i mentioned to my husband, i just heard like a plane is about to crash. and then we turned on the news. i truly believe it's a plane. >> so you did hear some unusual sounds. >> i did, because we're right in between two mountains so you can hear echos. >> you heard an explosion as if the plane were still in the air? >> like it was a turbine pop and then you could hear a deceleration of an engine. >> but you didn't see anything
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actually? >> did not see anything. we were in our home. and then we just briefly turned on the tv and this was about 15 minutes ago or 20 minutes ago. >> thank you, marguerite. >> you're welcome. >> we have unconfirmed reports, just want to stress this, that this is a plane that's gone down but we have many people who have called the station, who have emailed us, sent us twitter messages, that they heard something in the area that sounded like a plane, a plane in some type of distress, and we are -- we're trying desperately to confirm this information. but the speculation is exactly that. a plane either upon take-off or -- i'm assuming it was on take- off, has crashed in the san bruno area. the roads that we have been hearing in the area, the names
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that we have been getting suffolk creek, skyline, san bruno avenue, shelter creek. we have not been able to pinpoint the exact roads that this neighborhood is. >> those firefighters we just saw going door to door, that house appears to be the closest one that has not caught fire yet. but we have seen from the chopper 5 pictures that many, many structures have ignited and started here as well as that huge fireball that's right in the center of this whole thing and we got our first reports of this at about 6:15 to 6:20 when the first reports came in. we saw pictures of a fire in the hills there in san bruno. and so this is has been burning as a steady source for quite a while an as you see has spread to the homes as they try to evacuate everybody nearby. but firefighters, it appears, have to stay away because of the heat because it's so hot. they can't get close enough to
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try to attack this thing yet. their hope is to get everyone out of there safely as best they can. >> we don't have any idea of exactly how many homes are engulfed, but the ones that were in this path have disintegrated. there are certainly a dozen homes it looks to be a couple of blocks, there are cars that have been incinerated. there is a perimeter it looks like has been established many blocks out with firefighters and police in the area. again, these flames the consistency of the flames has not waned since we first were able to show you video at around 6:20 this evening. they are being fed by something. unconfirmed reports that this is a plane down in san bruno. >> i think i heard ken bastida's microphone come open. i know you're with us again,
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ken, you as you pointed out the force of the flames in the center it appears under pressure that the fuel is pretty constant here. >> yeah. allen, we should point out that we have contacted the duty manager at sfo. they are not confirming a plane has gone down. they tell us just the opposite. they have no information on any commercial flight that has gone down. so that may tell us that this is a situation where it involves possibly a general aviation aircraft that does not come out from the actual airport. but we just can't confirm it at this point. we know for a fact from the duty manager a commercial flight has not gone down. it may not be an aircraft. we cannot confirm it. the biggest problem on the ground from chopper 5 is these secondary fires that are
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starting to spread now out at least two, three blocks never direction. that's going to be a huge problem if they cannot contain that in the next at least few minutes here. >> they are not getting water -- >> moving people in to start putting those out they are really going to have a situation. >> it doesn't appear they are getting water on any of those as yet the heat must be so intense. >> the heat in this kind of a fire would be, yeah. aviation fuel if again if it's a plane crash is extremely hot. if it's a natural gas explosion of some type, as we may speculate, if it looks as if it's a pressurized source from the middle of all of that that would be extremely difficult to put out. maybe they are waiting for this source to be shut off. in the interim you have all this material burning. you have at least a dozen homes, probably twice that number now. it's kind of hard to pull back and look. but you can see these homes are completely incinerated. they have been absolutely scorched to the ground and there is that source again.
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what is that? is that jet fuel? is that natural gas? what is that source that is in that area behind those homes? >> would you think pg&e would be able to tell us that soon, i hope. >> well, that's one thing we're working on now is trying to get confirmation. looks like it's a pressurized source. you can see how volatile it is in that shot. that would indicate that this is something that is coming, you know, from underneath a pipeline possibly, or something that's really a force like that. did a plane start that fire? we don't know. >> well, we have been trying to lock down the location as best we could we're saying san bruno avenue skyline boulevard. one of our engineers just came n he says his sister lives in the area. and one of the roads that we're looking at right now is glenview drive. and that's as close as we can get map-wise in terms of giving out information.
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people are being evacuated. we are waiting for further confirmation on exactly what this is. but this fire is jumping house to house to house now. the fuel source is very hot. i don't know how to count the houses by chimneys because one after another after another has caught fire as we see the fireball in the middle. whatever that is, it just doesn't diminish. >> all right. again, we have been able to not confirm exactly what this is, but we have another eyewitness on the phone. who are we speaking with? >> dennis hanrahan. >> dennis, thank you for calling us. what can you tell us? >> i live right next to 280 and about a half hour ago a plane flew by overhead, it was so loud, it set the car alarms off in front house. and planes fly back and forth all the time. i got several panned windows you never notice them but this
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was extremely loud. >> you were able to get a burned eye view of it? >> no, i wasn't. i was -- a bird's-eye view of it. >> no, i wasn't. i didn't think anything of it until i saw on channel 5 that there was a huge five and possible plane crash. now the power has just gone out at my house. >> dennis, from what you heard, then, could you tell, was it a jet engine like a commercial jet? was it a turboprop? could you tell? >> sounded like a commercial jet engine very low. >> you said it's not that unusual for them to fly low in that area. >> yes. but the sound was very unusual. it was so loud. there is a plane flying overhead right now. >> say again, i'm sorry? >> there is a plane flying overhead right now. >> and -- >> and then -- >> it sounds different than this one did? >> sounds distant. i have my patio window closed. and it sounds normal. nothing out of the ordinary. but the other one like i said the car alarms went off. >> and now your power is out in the area?
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>> yes, it's been out for about two minutes now. >> all right. we have just gotten information that highway 280 at 35 is closed to traffic. clearly, they are trying to keep people out of the area and keep it free so they can have access with firefighting equipment. >> and there we can see chp has closed that exit there directly into the neighborhood of san bruno. and as we saw from chopper 5 a moment ago, pretty much looked like a staging area for the emergency personnel and if they are evacuating neighbors, they are probably -- there it is. that is the staging area i was talking about, asking people to gather there. they have numerous ambulances there on the right-hand side as well as the fire trucks. but as of yet, we have not been able to see them really get active in terms of fighting this fire because of most likely because of how hot and intense those flames are. i understand we have another eyewitness on the phone with us
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now. are you there? have you join us? >> yeah. >> your name? >> i live on top of the san francisco watershed about a fourth to half mile away from this. so we could see -- i was in my house and all of a sudden it starts shaking i hear a loud noise and explosion. i think it was an airplane that comes down right over and then i run outside and i see from my view about the entire sky was full of fire and smoke. from you know what i can see is it's all clear and houses are on fire. >> did you see a plane? >> i did not so a plane because i was inside at the time. but i heard a very large noise. it sounded like a plane very close to us.